Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

04
May
08

Emmitt Smitth is easy to please

Just to bring everyone up to speed, these are the headlines from the past week in the NFL:

But fear not! Emmitt Smith is here to make sense of it all. The master of morality, the king of Kantian ethics, the… guy in gold shoes apparently stopped by Cowboys camp to set things straight. I would try to summarize, but ESPN pretty much nailed it with their headling “Emmitt stops by Cowboys camp, advises Pacman to make [and they quote] ‘better choices’.”

Well, “better choices” is kind of vague guys. Care to clear that up in the first two graphs of your story?

IRVING, Texas — Emmitt Smith has some advice for suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Pacman Jones: Stay out of trouble.

“As long as you’re not killing anybody, getting anybody shot at and going to jail, then I don’t have any issues,” said Smith, NFL career rushing leader. The former star running back for Dallas was visiting Cowboys rookie minicamp Saturday.

Ahh, that’s better. So the three commandments of the NFL according to Emmitt:  Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not get thy neighbor shot, thou shalt not go to jail.

However, thine drug trafficking, human trafficking, brothel, and rape…. Thy league shall looketh the other way.

Amen.

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23
Mar
08

Girls rule, boys drool & robots destroy us all

Honesty hour: I was a little skeptical of how this whole experiment in bracketology would work out, but like an east-coast two seed, I must admit defeat. There are some pretty interesting trends emerging from this small sample in the science of selection. (Look at that, I’m so worked up I’m alliterating)

For starters, the current leader — with the most correct picks and the best possible fynal score — is a close friend of the Cut, Brittany. She still has all her Elite 8 picks in play and can finish with an astounding 176 points if the chips fall her way. I spoke to her on Saturday to ask about the approach she used to make her picks and the answer was something about a “gut feeling” or “woman’s intuition.” I think that’s just code for She-Devil Magic.

The stats actually support my She-Devil Magic theory, as three of the four women in the pool are among the top 10. If not for my fifth-place standing, both FynalCut contributors would be positioned behind their significant others. (Yes, place innuendo here)

The only match for our female friends? Robots. Well, math, but we all know that’s just robot DNA. Ken Pomeroy‘s efficiency ratings are up to their old tricks of serving as the top barometer of tournament talent. The bracket we filled out based on his rankings is currently tied for first — losing only Duke from its Elite 8. The RPI and Sagarin ratings are not far behind, in an eight-way tie for seventh place (along with both FynalCut girls and a small child).

As for the epic battle between bloggers and “professionals,” well, those other guys (and girl) are proving why they get paid. (except for you Seth Davis — you’ve got some explaining to do) SI’s Luke Winn and Pete Gillin’s mug from CBS are tied for third just two points back from our leaders, then I am the lone blogger among the top 10, tied with Sports Illustrated’s Kelli Anderson for fifth place. Our own FynalCut creator and Seth Davis are bringing up the rear among sports analysts. Sorry buddy — full disclosure is a part of journalism. At least you can claim to be as good as Seth Davis…

The absolute worst scores, however, belong to the “Places I’ve been” bracket (school in Indiana, brother at Kent State, cousin at Marquette…), a small child is just ahead of that one, and just ahead of a 7-year old: our only two entrants with on-court experience. Former Hoosier Rod Wilmont and Ft. Wayne Mad Ants head coach Jaren Jackson have first week scores of 34 and 37, respectively.

The lessons here: Just cuz you played or coached the game, doesn’t make you any better at predicting it (isn’t that right Bobby Knight? Pittsburgh? Really?); analysts hold the upper hand on bloggers (as if their whole “making money” wasn’t enough); robots hold the upper hand on analysts (proving they will soon replace every job); and fellas, don’t ever, ever underestimate the power that is wielded by women on a daily basis. And that’s a lesson that extends beyond basketball.

[Keep visiting the Cut this week for more thorough breakdowns of the first weekend. We’ll look into what separated the men from the boys, the women from the men, and pretty much everybody from “The Sports Guy” and his wife. Also, a look ahead to what might go down in Rounds III and IV.]

06
Mar
08

What being a Packer fan is all about

So, I know it is this way with a lot of organizations, but I’ve always grown up a Packer fan, so that’s all I know. Through my work as a fact checker, I had to email a woman from Green Bay yesterday. I will hold back some of the telling info, but this is how it transpired. Just a little glimpse of how Cheeseheads treat each other — remember, these are two, totally random Packer fans, having never spoken before:

Hi [Jane]
I am just double checking some stuff that was sent in for “Random magazine section” Is your name spelled [Jane] and are you from Green Bay, WI? Please get back to me as soon as possible
 Thanks,
 [BabyJ]
 P.S. I feel obliged to reach out here, as well. I’ve grown up a lifelong Packer fan and these are truly somber times. Personally, being just 22, I don’t know the Pack without Favre. It’ll be hard adjusting. I hope everybody there in the homeland is handling it alright.

 [BabyJ],
My name is spelled [Jane] and I am from Green Bay, WI

Thank you for reaching out [BabyJ]. These are tough times, honestly. Many of us are in denial yet, however watching his press conference today was a big reality check. He has just always been such a class act, it will surely be a sad day again when #4 doesn’t come racing out of the tunnel with his hands held high in the air! Hope you can get to Lambeau if  you’ve never been, with or without Brett Favre it is a great place to watch football. Thanks for the long distance support, it is appreciated as we all try to come to grips with ol’ faithful no longer being at the helm of the Green Bay Packers.

Hey, thanks for getting back so quickly!
Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to see #4 come out of that tunnel twice in my life (I grew up just north of Chicago near the border of WI, and my father is from West Allis, WI). Last time I was there was actually the final home game of 06, which at the time, seemed like it might have been his final game in Lambeau. And you are right, it’s an incredible place to watch a game!
I had to work today, but I desperately wanted to catch that press conference. Was there anything of note from it? Or just classic, soft spoken, relatively straight-forward Favre?
[BabyJ]

[BabyJ],
No problem on the response time.
I’ve lived in GB my entire life and take the stadium and home Packer games for granted but the greatness of Brett Favre isn’t lost on me. In fact I always chuckle to myself when I am driving down Oneida Street in July/August and there are hundreds of people watching them practice. Seems weird to me but then again, I’ve lived here for 32 years so it isn’t new to me.
I am sure you can catch the whole thing on youtube or the like.  It was hard to watch at first because he broke down and couldn’t hold back the tears.  It was very raw.  Real.  Like he has always been.  You called it…it was classic, soft spoken, straight-forward southern boy Brett Favre.  His absence will be felt on and off the field here in Green Bay.  Hope you can get up to Lambeau to see the new era of the Green Bay Packers begin.
Thanks for the solidarity fellow Packer Fan, we will get through this. It isn’t going to be pretty at first, but we will get through it.  Us Packer Fans and Cheese heads always do.  🙂
[Jane]
PS:Glad to hear you aren’t a Bear fan….

Sacrilege! My pops would’ve never allowed it! Besides, why would I have chosen to subject myself to that much pain and anguish for an entire childhood? From all my family’s accounts, Favre’s retirement is actually bigger news down there than it is up by you. Picture “The Wicked Witch is Dead” scene from the Wizard of Oz except with fat guys in Grossman jerseys instead of munchkins in suspenders.
“We represent the Hot Dog Guild! The Hot Dog Guild! The Hot Dog Guild!”

04
Mar
08

Bye, buddy

I always knew this day would come. Eventually. But here it is, Brett Favre has finally retired, and for some reason it’s caught me off guard. I feel sucker punched. Like my best friend just rang my doorbell and told me he’s moving to Europe — tomorrow.

It will take some time before this totally sets in; it’ll probably take half a season of Aaron Rodgers before it stops feeling weird to watch a Packer quarterback with a number other than four. And that said, I’ll spare all the personal memories about Super Bowls, his hijinx with teammates, coaches and refs alike, and of course, those idiotic, rage-inducing interceptions. This is, after all, a blog determined more to looking at media.

That works out alright though, because no player has been as beloved and as glorified by the media as Brett Favre has. Now, for fans of Favre, this wasn’t such a big deal. Sure, you roll your eyes like everybody else when Sean Salisbury mentions his “toughness” and “love for the game” 15 times in two minutes. But at least I knew I’d get to see my team’s highlights. More than you can say for Falcons fans, or anybody who watches the NHL.

But Favre also offers one of the wildest anomalies I’ve seen among “professional” sharers of opinion. On the one hand, they drool over the man’s every move — treating him like some living decedent of the Greek Gods. Yet, as we will continue to see as this story unfolds, nobody ever seems to argue that Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback of all time.

I’ll preface all of this by saying these arguments are dumb — they don’t matter. Favre is my personal favorite quarterback, yours might be Jeff Hostetler. That should be the end of the debate. But alas, every media outlet does this crap, so it’s within our duties of analyzing the media to jump through these same ridiculous hoops.

What I’m getting at is this: Favre has the best numbers ever. The big records are all his, with only Marino falling close to him. He also has a Super Bowl, which is Marino’s bugaboo. He’s got the media darling factor of Joe Namath, but also the intangible of his consecutive games’ streak. His only major knock is the interceptions (which, believe me, are horrendous) but those stem from that same “tenacity” and “gunslinger’s mentality” that the media so easily fawns over.

But look at these lists!! There are plenty more, I know, but it’s almost as if people are hesitant to crack him into the Top-5. Again, I’m not trying to turn this into a debate or make a pitch for Favre being No. 1. I’m just trying to point out the backwardness of all these who come out saying, “Oh God, Favre, what a player! What a fun-loving, gunslinger of a guy who really embodies everything you want in a quarterback. Oh man, who wouldn’t get down on their knees for this guy? I know I would!” and then right after a brief discussion of how they would go about pleasuring the man if they had the chance, they’ll turn around and say, “I mean, he is certainly a Top-10 quarterback. Yes, he’s the all-time leader in touchdowns and receptions and consecutive starts at the position. And yes, he’s won that ever-elusive Super Bowl that has evaded so many greats. But, he made some mistakes, so I’d probably put him No. 5…” WHAT!?!?

I guess all I wish is that the media acknowledged its own presence. They’ve convinced themselves so well that they don’t affect the game, that they don’t even hear themselves anymore. Who cares if you say Favre is the best and people disagree. But if you really don’t think he is, then don’t treat him like the one man you would probably turn gay for.

Cuz you know what, if Brett Favre asked me to marry him, I would probably say yes. I would make him pancakes every morning and press the next day’s Wranglers every night before bed. And I’d definitely tell you he was the greatest to ever play the game.

13
Feb
08

Keep him

[Editor’s note: This is a response to my fellow Cutter. Read below for the first installment] 

Alright folks, time for a more logical response to this whole ordeal… AS difficult as it is to appeal to logic after that IU-Wisconsin game (traveling anybody? please?).

Here’s my returning jab:

I should probably make it clear that I did not grow up in Indiana. So I was not sucking the ol’ Bob Knight Kool-Aid right out of my mama’s teet like most Hoosiers. I acknowledge that this slightly skews my view, though I would claim it gives me more rational logic, not to mention less bruising around my neck.

I guess that’s the crux of my argument: How can Indiana basketball ever move forward if the entire fan base is incapable of turning their eyes from the past. Yes, Bob Knight was a great coach. Maybe the best coach. But look what his legacy did to Mike Davis. He suffered from the proverbial “won with _____’s players” stigma that afflicts so many, and thus, had to march up hill, every season, until things finally got too steep.

So Davis crumbled, the team crumbled, and we brought in a winner. A winner. The Hoosier nation demanded somebody who could recruit well, put us in a position to win a championship, and restore the glory to ol’ IU. Well, in case anybody hadn’t noticed, in just his second year, that’s kind of where we are.

I just think the hypocrisy of demanding top level talent while not expecting him to sidestep these inane phone call rules to, you know, talk to the parent who’s choosing to entrust him with their kid is a little absurd. I don’t condone lying, and he should certainly be punished for that. But c’mon people, this man has been doing whatever it takes to deliver what you, the fan base, have demanded.

Let’s try to focus more on who he is (the best coaching option we’ve got, especially this season), instead of looking solely at who he’s not.

13
Feb
08

Don’t worry, it’s coming

We’ve got two IU alumns here at the cut.

We know there’s shit goin down.

So worry not, we are brainstorming an appropriate response to all this madness. And considering we both have very different opinions of the whole thing… It should be good.

Not to hype this up or anything.

Until then…

30
Jan
08

Oh, boys will be boys

Or rather, “bar-fighting hooligans will be bar-fighting hooligans.” Even if you give them a basketball scholarship.

That lesson is being learned the hard way at Missouri, which just yesterday suspended five players for getting in a bar fight at a downtown nightclub called Athena — though I suppose that will happen at a bar named after the goddess of war.

Oh, but those silly college highjinks have hardly been limited to Columbia, MO.

No sir, in fact, on ESPN’s main college basketball page yesterday, five out of eight stories revolved around suspended players. And if you recall just before the season started, an old friend of ours here at The Cut, Mike Davis, had five players get arrested for fighting at a club down at UAB (five must be the magic number when it come to inter-squad rumbles).

What’s so goofy is the response taken by the coaching staff and universities. With every single one of these stories, the immediate news is that the players are suspended “indefinitely.” It’s the perfect cover. They take action, which subdues the media outpour, and once things calm down, the proverbial slap of the wrist can be applied.

I mean, just give this line from the Missouri story another closer look:

Anderson implemented what he called a “zero-tolerance” policy after junior forward DeMarre Carroll — his nephew — was shot in the ankle outside another Columbia nightclub over the summer.

Yeah, you know, once my nephew got shot, we figured it was about time to issue that “zero tolerance” policy. What do we mean by “zero tolerance?” Well, you know, the guys can still go out and hit the clubs, get a little tipsy, maybe pull a Jeramy Stevens on some freshman jersey chaser… but if they get in a brawl with each other that requires the cops to break it up, I mean, my hands will be tied. I’m gonna have to suspend them a game or two.

C’mon coaches. You ask your fans to be good sports. Why not require your players to be good people?